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The Lead Nov. 24, 2021: We chat about smoked turkey; check out a new restaurant; and talk more food with Cartewheels

Maybe this should be called the food episode — or turkey talk.


Our big accomplishment yesterday was making it out of Buzzie's with a plate of food. That's not an indictment against Buzzie, but we're saving room for Thursday. We did not, however, escape Carte & Co. Market without a gluten-free vanilla cupcake after interviewing Emily Simpson and Stephanie Seefeldt during Tuesday's episode of The Lead Live.


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Mike Kelliher of Arcadia Live will stop by today to tell us about the upcoming shows at the Water Street entertainment destination. There are plenty of exciting shows coming to Arcadia in the coming weeks, including Austin's Shiny Ribs on Dec. 17. Here's a rundown of some of the acts and events coming to Arcadia in the next few days:

  • Dec. 3, 7 p.m., Ian Moore and Possessed by Paul James.
  • Dec. 8, 6 p.m., An Arcadia Holiday, with performances by Big Seed artists.
  • Dec. 9, 7 p.m., Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis Holiday Shindig
  • Dec. 11, 9:30 a.m., Santa Saturday with a showing of "Mickey's Christmas Carol."
  • Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m., ShinyRibs.


Saturday kicks off the holiday season with events all over the Hill Country, and here's a look at some to put on your agenda:

  • About 6 p.m., Christmas Carriage rides in downtown Kerrville. Come out and get a ride and pics around the big tree — two weekends only. Adults are $10, children $5.
  • The Museum of Western Art will be holding a free day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Get out and experience the world-class venue.
  • Buckhorn Lake RV Resort is playing host to a craft and vendor show from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The resort, 2885 Goat Creek Rd., says it will have the following: Handmade jewelry and soaps, quilting crafts, clothing, handmade cards and homemade holiday candy.
  • Christmas in Comfort. This event features more than 100 vendors, food trucks, etc. There's also a lighted Christmas parade at 7 p.m. downtown.


Thursday, of course, is the big day at the Kerrville Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center's annual Thanksgiving feast. We're certain to find some great stories on Thursday, but we found an early one with our profile on the Romacks — the couple that leads The Kroc. Read more about their journey to Kerrville here:

Also, a programming note: We will be live from The Kroc at 9 a.m. for The Lead Live.


On Tuesday's The Lead Live, we had a great chat with Cartewheels and Carte and Co. Market's Stephanie Seefeldt and Emily Simpson about their long history in the catering and restaurant business. Simpson purchased the company from her mother and then brought Seefeldt, her older sister, to be a manager of the Kerrville-based business. Here are three things we learned about the business:

  • Seefeldt and Simpson grew up in the restaurant and catering business. In 1995, the family opened a restaurant called the Cypress Grill in Kerrville, and it taught the women a lesson in life-work balance. The restaurant was open seven days a week and for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was a grind, and neither wanted a repeat of that lifestyle. "It was too big," Simpson said of the restaurant. "It just kind of made us re-evaluate what we wanted out of our life and business." So, now the Quinlan Street cafe, between Main and Water streets, is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Catering remains one of the key focuses of the business, along with a burgeoning to-go business.
  • A focus on nutrition and quality drives many of their menu decisions. Seefeldt said the rise of food-borne allergies or ailments — like Celiac disease, which renders those unable to process gluten. Those challenges help dictate some of the menu choices and the sisters said customers will see more gluten-free and Keto-friendly offerings in the days to come.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way they do business — more people are ordering out. So, they have adjusted the model, almost like an extended catering job, for more takeout options. "The world is moving more in the direction of takeout and we wanted to stay on trend with that," Seefeldt said about moving from their former downtown location in the old Schreiner building to the Quinlan Street store. "It's a real easy in and out. There's not a lot of traffic on Quinlan. We're a quick pick-up place."

To watch the whole interview click here:

To listen to the podcast version click here:–Nov–23–2021-e1ao49g


Texas lands another big tech maker

South Korean electronics behemoth Samsung will construct a huge microchip plant near Austin — a deal expected to create 1,800 jobs. Gov. Greg Abbott was quick to claim victory on the deal, but Samsung singled out President Joe Biden.

"In addition to our partners in Texas, we are grateful to the Biden Administration for creating an environment that supports companies like Samsung as we work to expand leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S.," said Kinam Kim, vice chairman and CEO, Samsung Electronics Device Solutions Division. "We also thank the administration and Congress for their bipartisan support to swiftly enact federal incentives for domestic chip production and innovation."

Planned for Taylor, Texas, the city granted the company substantial tax breaks to locate the plant there.

It's close, but not really

Democrat Beto O'Rourke has a lot of ground to make up against Republican incumbent Greg Abbott in the race for Texas governor. The math is simple; at least according to the Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas-Tyler, Abbott has a six percentage point edge. Still, it's another number we're curious about — Abbott's approval rating. The poll found that 49% of registered voters approved of Abbott's job performance. So, O'Rourke must contend with trailing in the polls against an incumbent who seems to have weathered multiple crises.

A crowded field to primary Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, faces a growing primary challenge from three big-time Republicans. Rep. Louie Gohmert threw his name into the ring of challengers to face Paxton in 2022. The others are Texas Land Commissioner Prescott Bush and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. Here's more on the story from the Texas Tribune:


The second day at Qdoba restaurant proved to be a busy, but smooth experience for those waiting for food.

On Tuesday night, we thought about heading over to Rails Restaurant for a meal, but we changed our mind at the last second. Now, this isn't because we don't like Rails; we just realized that we didn't have time to sit down and enjoy it. So, we went to Qdoba, the new fast-casual Mexican-inspired restaurant on the north side of Sidney Baker Street, near Interstate 10. For those unaware, this Qdoba franchise is owned by Rails' owners Melissa Southern and John Hagerla. So, it was kind of like Rails' lite.

Now, we've been to Qdoba restaurants before and sometimes franchised places can be a bit unpredictable. Qdoba is a competitor of Chipotle restaurants, and you'll notice similarities. However, considering this was the second day they were open, we were impressed with the service and food quality, and of course, Melissa Southern was there to greet people. That local ownership and commitment to quality are what probably will make Qdoba a success in Kerrville. As for the food, you get a lot more choices than you would at a Chipotle — and for a reasonable price. Meal for two — $21.


Let's talk turkey, smoked turkey

Richard Vasquez and Buzzie Hughes were smoking up Thanksgiving goodness on Tuesday.

When it comes to barbecue, we like to argue that the real gem of Texas is smoked turkey. We know that's blasphemy, but there's nothing better. On Tuesday afternoon, we stopped by Buzzie's Bar-B-Cue for a sneak peek at the turkeys they're smoking ahead of Thanksgiving — let's say it was mouthwatering.

Of course, Buzzie Hughes, one of Kerr County's barbecue impresarios, is an old-hand at smoking turkey, but he's the first to confide he's a traditionalist — of sorts.

"You like yours smoked; I like mine oven-baked," Hughes said. "I like smoked turkey, but I'd rather have it roasted."

OK, fair enough, Buzzie. However, Hughes' partner in smoking on Tuesday afternoon was his good friend Richard Vasquez, and he disagrees with Buzzie about Thanksgiving eats.

"Yes, I would take it over oven roasted," said Vasquez, managing the 200-degree smoker on Tuesday. The pair smoked more than 25 special order turkeys — all of them already purchased.

Vasquez helps out Buzzie whenever he needs it and takes time off to help Hughes, including Tuesday. Vasquez is the general manager of Advance Auto Parts on Sidney Baker, but he works with Hughes on catering jobs and as a fill-in.

See, the secret to the smoked turkey is all about blanching the bird beforehand in hot water, then slowly smoking the turkey and then letting it cool. The customer picks the bird up, and it can be reheated and served. Sounds pretty good to us.

Buzzie checks on one of his turkeys that was blanching.

And, by the way: Buzzie provided some insight into what his wife, Kerrville City Councilwoman Brenda Hughes, will be doing on Thanksgiving.

"My lovely bride is going to be making a blueberry pie, a banana cream pie and a chocolate pie," Buzzie said.


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